Band of the Week: Erica Blinn and the Handsome Machine

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Meet the Band: Erica Blinn (vocals, guitar, harmonica), PJ Schreiner (drums, vocals), Mark Nye (bass, vocals), Greg Wise (guitar, vocals)

A Watershed Moment: Singer-guitarist Erica Blinn started her musical career by playing harmonica in bands around the Columbus area when she was only 14. She eventually began writing her own songs and fronted bands in high school and college, but it wasn't until she met Colin Gawel, frontman of the power pop/rock act Watershed, that she launched her solo career. "He helped me put the band together," she says. "I couldn't find someone on the same wavelength as me." Her backing band the Handsome Machine solidified two years ago.

Her Influences: Blinn grew up listening to the classic rock of the '60s and '70s. "I like Bob Seger and I love early J. Geils, pre-'Love Stinks' and all that garbage," she says. "I have a wide range of music I like." Her music could be loosely called alt-country, but she doesn't entirely fit into that musical box. "I have such a hard time with labels and genres," she says "I love Linda Ronstadt, which shifts from alt-country pop thing to rock stuff. I love the Eagles. I love Lucinda Williams too."

Why You Should Hear Her: The band's forthcoming album, Lovers in the Dust, veers from Sheryl Crow-like pop to driving roots-inspired rock. "It's eclectic," Blinn says. "There are songs that are a little more rock. We have hard-hitting rock tunes. We have some that are more toward the Southern rock thing with twangy guitar licks. There's something there for everybody. I'm really proud of it. We had some awesome guest musicians on it. [Honeytribe guitarist] Devon [Allman] played lead on one of the tracks."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Erica Blinn and the Handsome Machine perform with Devon Allman at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16, at Wilbert's.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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